Monday 30 January 2012

If we falter this time around - we only have ourself to blame! ABU!

Fifty Five years ago we became independent. MERDEKA. The British handed over power to the government of the day –  The Alliance headed by our beloved Tunku, and henceforth we had freedom! Freedom? Freedom to do what?

Free speech, free press, the freedom to earn a decent living, freedom of worship – all personal freedom that goes to make a decent and civilized society.

The freedom to extend a helping hand to the sick, the poor, the orphaned, the hungry, the homeless, the aged,  the underprivileged and to those in the minority.

And last and certainly the least of our worries then, was the freedom to chose who governs us and the freedom to replace them if they do not meet with our approval.

Fast forward fifty years later to 2012.

What do we have now? 

No free speech, no free press, no freedom to earn a decent living, no freedom to worship whom we choose. The sick cannot afford to pay for decent health care. The poor, the orphaned, the hungry, the homeless and the aged depend on the charity of the NGO's  and benevolence of those that care enough to put in their time, effort and money to  help them.  The under privileged are left to their own devices. The minorities within our community are ignored and without recourse to plead for their own cause because they do not have representation on the electoral role - and the worse off amongst the minorities are the real people of the soil - the orang asli who were here before any of us!

And what fifty years ago was the least of our worries : the ability to chose whom we want to govern us : is today the issue that burdens us constantly. It burdens us because we were not wise enough fifty five years ago to chose a government that would have given us all the freedom that we had aspired to when we became independent on 31st August 1957! For we now know that the freedom to chose who govern us was the most precious freedom of all the freedom that came with independence! Now we know that the path our country and our people will take after independence is decided by those whom we chose to lead us. 

Germany chose Hitler and he led them to a World War that killed almost 2.5% of the world population  - 50 to 70 million - and wrecked despair and havoc all over the world.

South Africa chose Mandela and he took that rainbow nation down the path of reconciliation when he would have been forgiven if he had sought retribution from the National Party for apartheid : a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party government and for imprisoning him for 27 years!

We chose UMNO to lead the government that govern us today. Can we now chose to change this government? 

If we have learned from our past mistakes we must first ask our self this question: Who do we now want to govern us? Who will do better or worse then UMNO? Are we to jump from the frying pan only to land in the fire? What are our options? 

The consensus is that there must be change. Anything but UMNO because fifty five years is long enough for any government to come up with something we want - even if it was to be found through a process of trial and error. 

And there have been many trials and many errors by this UMNO led government - so much trial and error that our country and our people are now on its knees pleading for good, responsible and accountable governance! And good , responsible and accountable governance will not come from UMNO. 

And so we look elsewhere. Will Pakatan Rakayt be that change that we want or are we so focused on ABU that all we want is change - and what comes with that change must be better then what we now have under UMNO?

The debate on this is robust and ongoing. 

I want change but not at any costs! As in matters of this nature we will all have our thoughts on the issue and these thoughts are coloured by many variables that will have a bearing on the final outcome of what we will do as we hurtle towards the coming 13th general elections. 

Do what you must but forget not the lessons we should have learned in the 55 years of independence that we have had under UMNO. It has taken us 55 years to lose our freedom of speech, lose the freedom of a free press,  lose much of our civil liberties, lose the ability to have an accountable and responsible government, lose our freedom of worship and many many other values that we had aspired to have when we first gained independence from our colonial masters. So my friends let us not wait a minute longer to lose UMNO! ABU!        



Who are the Malays?

[steadyaku47] New comment on Who are the Malays?.

Sunday, 29 January, 2012 11:48 AM
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akbar khan haneefa has left a new comment on your post "Who are the Malays?": 

Dear Anonymous
Thanks for your nomination. I am honoured. But allow me to address your post:

1. I wish more people would give a name to their voice. In this thread, of the 20 comments, only 2 have names. And guess what? both muslims. I wonder what has happened to my indian and chinese brothers. (to know why, pls read the blogsite article on The Chinese: Dont have windows in their houses)

2. The mentality that contributes to the stealing of our national underwear. This finger pointing to one community needs to stop. The thieves are Malays, Chinese and Indians. And i blame Mahathir, Ling liong sik and Samy Vellu equally. But there was an accomplice to all this. The rakyaat. And that means you and me, bro. Because we kept quiet. There is a price that needs to be paid if we act deaf, dumb and blind. This mentality is fuelled by fear. (see, people here all become anonymous!!)

3. Last Thursday, a chinese friend of mine said this: "the chinese will sell their grandma if there is a profit." A bit crude but what it means is this; if it is a choice between rice-bowl and a friend the chinese will choose their rice bowl first. Now if the mamak also wants to be like the chinese and sell his grandma, don't look down on him, yah 

Posted by akbar khan haneefa to steadyaku47 at Monday, January 30, 2012 4:18:00 AM GMT+10:30

Berahim Beruk does his thing again! Score? Berahim satu. Cina kosong!

Steven Koay's photos

Stupid & Idiot Perkasa treated our Chinese New Year, a funeral ceremony by giving "White-Envelope" !!!!! Dun tell me they are not aware of our Chinese culture ??!! why not using "Green-Envelope" ??!! it purposed to insult us, the Chinese !!!!!! what the "Honkan / chow-gao" MCA/Gerakan going to cover their "Stupid Brothers" then ???!!!!

Some 300 senior citizens and residents received a boon at Perkasa's first Chinese New Year open house today as close to RM10,000 was handed out.

Leaders of the right wing Malay pressure group handed out the season’s angpows in uncharacteristic white envelopes, even if in Chinese tradition white packets are reserved for funerals.

And when the envelopes ran out, they directly dished out the cash.

A slight commotion broke out amongst the attendees as they rushed for the handouts.

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali in official uniform and deputy chief Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar in traditional red Chinse attire with the Chinese character ‘dragon’ in gold emblazoned across it were seen going from table to table dishing out the RM10 white angpows.

Asked about the taboo envelopes, Ibrahim urged the attendees not to misunderstand.

"Don't think like that, it's just white envelopes, we didn't mean anything (bad)," he said.

Addressing the mostly Chinese crowd, Ibrahim declared that the event it hosted at Kampung Baru today was evidence that Perkasa is not a racist organisation.

"All this while accusations have been levelled at us, but today proves that Perkasa is not racist, we fight for unity," he said, chanting "1Malaysia" three times.

Sunday 29 January 2012

"Who are the Malays?":

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who are the Malays?": 

Sorry, my goat is up. 

Today, who are the Malays? That great Malay Islamic warrior, Ridhuan Tee Abdullah speaks Malay, is a Muslim, defends the Malay race and Islam. But has he really the Malay's Jiwa? Don't we feel a disconnect when he talks of 'kita orang Melayu' on National TV?

Or that Man Who Can Walk On Water, who's ancestors were from Kerala – he was a truly formidable Malay warrior. But has he really the Malay's Jiwa? If he has, would he have humiliated his opponent the way he did, openly, unashamedly, in a manner more reminiscent of South Indian culture than the refined Malay culture that we are brought up on.

In Desa Pandan, some blocks are now taken over by Indonesian Malays. In the mornings, dangdut music loud and blaring. The women sit on door-ways terkangkang, in sarongs chest high with bra straps exposed, just like in the alleys of Jakarta and the air is filled with dongs, and ngomongs. Malay culture? Ptui…. 

In 50 years, the Constitutional Malays will outnumber the 'blood' Malays at the rate the Government is letting them in. You think they will hold on to our adat and our culture? 

Dream on Kirana. 

Truly 1 Malaysia!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse Step-Dad early 80th birthday celebration. Melayu ada, China ada, Eurasian ada, semua color pun ada, orang tua, orang muda ada.
Semua ada!
Aisehman truly 1Malaysia!


We must never close


We must never close our eyes again!

with thanks to : EYES WIDE OPEN

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Healthcare "reforms" called 1Care for 1Malaysia are upon us and it's a truly frightening prospect.

The BN government has been selling 1Care in the MSM throughout 2011, describing it it glowing terms without giving away any details at all. A concerned citizens group called #taknak1care managed to get hold of some insider information and started a Tak Nak 1Care facebook campaign that's picking up steam.

The revelations on their Tak Nak 1Care Facebook page worried the authorities enough that the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health, Datuk Dr Hisham Abdullah joined in the discussions on the page to try and do some damage control. However, he has so far been unable to answer or categorically refute any of the information revealed on the page and has been reduced to repeating the mantra of "nothing has been decided yet, but whatever it is will benefit the rakyat".

But interestingly, the Dep DG has acknowledged is that Malaysia is currently about halfway through the 1Care implementation process. This blogger wonders how you can be halfway implementing something that doesn't exist yet?!

As I understand it, 2012 is when the implementation is supposed to be stepped up. Already we see various articles in the mainstream media about the drawbacks of our current healthcare system. This is done so that the rakyat will be conditioned to accept the need for healthcare reform. The laws authorising the 1Care reforms may even be passed this year. So we don't have much time to stop this train wreck from happening.

I won't be discussing the structure of 1Care in this article. For that, please “Like” the#taknak1care facebook page. There is a wealth of information about 1Care there, several intelligent discussions including long discussions with the Dep DG of MOH himself, and new information is posted often. You can also search Youtube for the Tak Nak 1Care videos.

For now, I would just like to explore the problems and questions that arise from 1Care "reforms".

Firstly, I believe 1Care is based on some fundamentally flawed assumptions.

Assumption 1:
The Malaysian government cannot afford public healthcare anymore.
Although the BN government spends significantly less on healthcare (only about 2% of GDP) compared to similarly developed countries, Malaysia is internationally acknowledged for our relatively high level of healthcare. This low cost and high effectiveness shows that Malaysia already has an internationally praised, reasonably efficient healthcare system already in place now. (This is a very important point to remember as you read the rest of this post.)

But despite the low, low government expenditure, the BN government is saying that it can no longer finance even the 2% of GDP for healthcare. It plans to force all rakyat to pay up to about 10% of their monthly income into a Social Health Insurance (SHI) to share the cost. This is ridiculous! Isn't the government's healthcare expenditure funded from taxpayers hard earned money? Why are we being asked to pay again?

The BN government should first solve the problems of leakages, wastages, corruption and runaway outsourcing costs instead of forcing the rakyat to finance their irresponsible ways.

Instead, we see the BN government spending taxpayers on more "important" projects such as the:

- RM 1 billion Mega Tower,
- RM 12 billion PKFZ fiasco,
- RM 3 billion submarines that don't work,
- RM 4 billion MRT project that only covers a few km, etc.

And let's not forget
- the RM 1 trillion in illicit capital outflow from the country.

If the government recovered even a fraction of all these wasted resources, our country would be able to easily finance even expand our public healthcare system for generations to come! But as it is, we can see that the BN government has no intention of halting its wasteful and corrupt practices. They clearly do not have the rakyat's interest as its priorities.

Assumption 2:
The healthcare system needs a complete overhaul
Malaysia currently has a somewhat efficient dual system. There seems to be an unwritten rule among the rakyat that those who can afford it, go to private healthcare providers. Those who can't, go to public providers. The wealthier taxpayers (only 10% of the population) take care of themselves and willingly pay taxes to provide free healthcare for the poorer 90%.

This dual system has worked well for decades (and internationally acknowledged, remember) although it has some problems. But most of these problems can be traced back to government policies and lack of regulation / standards enforcement. These can easily be solved by conscientious government intervention.

The most urgent healthcare problems now are runaway profits and irresponsible public financial management. Solving these two problems should be the first step to any reform. However, it would seem that the govt has little intention to go in that direction. Instead it wants to implement a SHI to wash its hands of its already low healthcare expenditure.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that the Malaysian healthcare system is really so bad it needs a complete restructuring. There are many other countries whose models have worked very well with little financial burden to the rakyat. But our govt seems to have not explored any other model for the last two decades except privatisation and creating an SHI to pay for it.

Assumption 3:
Privatisation and SHI are the best reform option
In highly privatised places like America, reforms in the shape of an SHI could be a welcome relief. In a privatised system, healthcare is a product, and pricing strategies maximise profits. But healthcare is not normal product – you can choose not to buy a car, but you cannot choose not to have a heart attack. You can return a blouse for a refund, but you cannot return a surgery. These conditions guarantee that healthcare providers will forever enjoy a seller's market!

In such a context, SHI promises affordable universal healthcare in time of need, as long as people put up with a little less spending money every month after the deductions. It's a viable alternative to costly GP visits / prescriptions, long-term care like diabetes, or sudden catastrophic healthcare spending in cases like cancer or accidents.

A well implemented SHI could also function as a disciplinary tool for healthcare providers. SHIs can demand quality and accountability from healthcare by limiting payments for bad healthcare practices and irresponsible finances. Of course, it has its drawbacks, but it's still better than private healthcare being priced out of many people's affordability.
But Malaysia does NOT have a completely privatised healthcare system that an SHI initiative could improve. So in order to justify this fundamental policy shift, the BN government is now CREATING the necessary conditions for it by essentially privatising the entire healthcare system through 1Care!! It's like banging your head with a hammer so that you have an excuse to buy Panadol!


Of course, now they won't dare to use the “P” word as the rakyat had put up with so much hardship due to past privatisation policies. The popular euphemism now is “AUTONOMY” which allows indivdual govt units to decide policies independently without govt interference – like pricing policies, for example.

If that's the case, what's to stop government healthcare facilities from acting like for-profit organisations?

Assumption 4: 
There will be enough high income earners to significantly contribute to the SHI.
Using GDP growth and macro economic data as an indication of citizens' financial fitness for implementing SHI is flawed. We must take into consideration grassroots conditions such as income disparity, inflation and cost of living as well. Right now, the income disparity is widening, cost of living is skyrocketing and official inflation rates do not reflect the realities on the ground. But looking at macro economic indicators may give the impression that there is a large middle class that can afford a compulsory SHI.

Plus, the government's economic indicators are highly suspect. The official poverty level is determined as RM800/mth household income. But in Budget 2012, the PM acknowledges that households earning less than RM3000/mth have trouble making ends meet. Official figures show inflation at about 3%, but independent studies show that urban inflation is probably at a rate of 10%. This difference is because the government measures inflation rate with prices of goods that are not typical purchases of most Malaysians.

Implementing a univeral SHI based on such vague and confusing financial data could prove disastrous to the rakyat who are already burdened by high costs of living!

The BN government's rush to implement 1Care based on flawed financial assumptions without a proper study of the rakyat's situation only demonstrates their insensitivity and misplaced priorities. Clearly, the rakyat's interest are the furthest from their minds.

Besides the problems these flawed assumptions create, 1Care throws up several issues of concern as well.
Issue 1:
Double taxation, zero additional benefit
The SHI concept itself is ridiculous within the Malaysian context. As explained earlier, we are internationally acknowledged as having achieved a reasonably efficient healthcare system at very low expenditure.
With the introduction of 1Care, Malaysians will now be paying taxes, AND the SHI, AND their private insurance premiums. If the SHI rates were reasonable and the benefits package good, many people would probably have no problem with that. The only people unhappy would be the private insurers as they will lose business to the SHI.

But as insiders have revealed, insurance companies are included in the MOH's 1Care Technical Working Groups to hammer out the details of 1Care implementation. And since we do not hear any complaints from them even when 1Care implementation is halfway through, we can safely assume that their business has not been threatened.

Insiders also reveal that all our monthly payments to 1Care's SHI only gets us Primary Healthcare (General Practioners / Clinics). Even then, the rakyat STILL has to share the cost (co-pay) for medicines and medical accessories. And tertiary care (hospital / specialists) is NOT COVERED AT ALL by the SHI. So the rakyat will still have to pay out of pocket or depend on private insurance, like we do now (no wonder private healthcare insurers' are not complaining - their market remains undisturbed by 1Care, right)!

How is this supposed to be an improvement over our present system?! Does the BN government really expect the rakyat to roll over and accept being forced to pay twice for a “reformed” system that burdens them with higher healthcare costs but delivers zero extra benefit? 

Issue 2:
Integrating public/private healthcare sectors will drive costs up
Since 1Care integrates public and private primary care services and standardises their fees, there will essentially no longer be any "public" GPs. All GPs will be paid private rates under 1Care (latest information is RM60 per visit, billed to the SHI). So we can definitely expect primary healthcare costs to suddenly rise significantly.

1Care GPs are also required to be "jaga pintu" (gatekeepers). No one can see any specialist or be admitted into any hospital without a 1Care GP's say-so. This leads to the big question – since public GP services and rates have been rationalised, will public hospital/specialist services also be integrated and their charges standardised?

This is very likely to happen as it would not be “fair” for government specialists to be paid less than their private counterparts in this new integrated system. The Dep DG of MOH himself hinted at this in one of his comments on the #taknak1care page. Specifically he commented that:

"For a specialist or doctor if I see 10 patients a day or I see 100 patients the salary is the same. If you are efficient you be given more work. This is the system we have now."

Since 78% of hospital beds in Malaysia belong to the government who also handles 74% of admissions, imagine what would happen when all these government facilities start charging private rates under 1Care. Healthcare costs to shoot through the roof! It would also be reasonable to assume that a large segment of our uninsured population would no longer be able to afford the skyrocketing healthcare costs under this new 1Care scheme.

What's more, this development will have multiplier effects. One of the effects I foresee is in the insurance sector. Since 1Care's SHI benefits only cover limited GP services, private insurers will have to raise their premiums and limit their payouts to ensure their profitability is not affected by the tsunami of rising costs in tertiary healthcare.

Clearly, the BN government's 1Care reforms will dump the rakyat in the wayside in pursuit of a system that values money more than life.

Issue 3:
Social safety net disappears
Our public healthcare system has always been the primary choice for lower income groups. It is their chance to get good, almost-free healthcare. However, even before 1Care is fully implemented, government hospital charges are now no longer “negligible”. Rooms in some government hospitals now cost as much as private hospitals. Other fees may be much lower than the private sector, but can still run into thousands for a even simple surgical procedure.As it is now, many poor household find it hard to pay for public healthcare - and 1Care hasn't even been fully implemented yet!

In Budget 2012, the PM acknowledged that households earning less than RM3000/mth have trouble making ends meet and a RM500 one-off cash aid makes a big difference. With roughly 60% of Malaysian households earning below this threshold, how can they be expected to contribute up to 10% of their income into 1Care's SHI? How will they be able to afford expensive long-term / tertiary care if there is no longer a public healthcare system? Where do they go - back to the dukun and sinsei in the villages?
With the floodgates of privatised rates thrown opened, what's to stop our “reformed” 1Care system from going the the free-for-all American way, where any service within the healthcare industry has the potential to be monetised, subdivided and monetised again? Now that the “autonomy” concept seems to be given free reign, government owned units can freely make such decisions without interference from the government and the rakyat won't be able to do anything about it.

These and many other disturbing issues and concerns are turning up as bit by bit, as the scope and structure of 1Care are revealed. But so far, the BN government has no answers for the rakyat.

The information gathered from documents available online indicates that 1Care will create more problems than it solves. In fact, the implementation of 1Care's SHI concept will actually destroy our present efficient system, reverse-engineer for us all the problems of the American privatised healthcare system AND create ALL-NEW problems because of its very limited coverage. 1Care could be the most dangerously ridiculous case of putting the cart before the horse that Malaysians have ever been subjected to by the BN government!

The BN government should fix its own fundamental flaws and get its priorites right first before subjecting the rakyat to such dubious reforms! The BN government should remember that they owe it to the rakyat to provide healthcare and other essential services, instead of washing their hands in the privatisation basin and kicking back to enjoy less work and more money. We've had enough of privatisation policies that forced rakyat to pay through their nose for inefficient monopolies controlling phone services, water, electricity, sewerage, waste disposal, postal service, public transport, and the list goes on... Now the BN government wants to privatise and monetise another essential service - healthcare!

The rakyat should not take this lying down anymore. We must not be held ransom to this "You Money Or Your Life" 1Care system. We owe it to ourselves and our children to make sure 1Care is stopped dead in its tracks!

TAK NAK 1CARE! Join the movement, spread the word.

Who are the Malays?

[steadyaku47] New comment on Who are the Malays?.

Saturday, 28 January, 2012 9:34 PM
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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who are the Malays?": 

the constitution is very clear. it does not tie the constitutional malay category to the blood lineage. if you are muslim, speak malay habitually and live ordinarily with peninsular malay cultural norms, then you are one. maknanya, in malaysia asalkan sanggup berasimilasi masuk ke dalam bangsa melayu, it doesn't matter what race your parents are, which also means adopted children from chinese backgrounds into malay families are accepted as malays. if not, still malaysians, but not malay. this is a better safeguard of the persistance of the malay culture in this land, compared to blood lineage alone. i mean, orang melayu yang dah jadi kebaratan, tak ada rupa budaya melayu lagi, is they a vehicle to perpetuate the malay thought and culture? tentu tidak. budaya itu yang penting, darah keturunan itu cuma pembawanya sahaja. 

objektif utama anak bumi malaysia yang asalnya dari kerantauan pulau-pulau melayu ini sebenarnya cumalah dua: walaupun bermasyarakat majmuk, biarlah budaya dominan itu budaya bangsa-bangsa asal rantau ini, dan kedua, supaya agama islam itu kekal berdaulat di bumi malaysia. yang lain itu kita boleh bertolak ansur dan berubah sama-sama dengan bangsa lain. saya fikir sebab itulah perlembagaan tidak mengikat status melayu itu dengan pertalian darah. 

(saya melayu mengikut perlembagaan dan juga pertalian darah.) 


Body found at Bond's Cottesloe mansion.

STAFF REPORTER, The West Australian January 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

The body of a 57-year-old woman has been found at Alan Bond's Cottesloe home.
A police spokesman said officers were called to the two-storey house in Hawkestone Street at 11.35am.
The dead woman is believed to be Di Bliss, the wife of the former tycoon. Neighbours report Mr Bond and Ms Bliss were living at the limestone mansion, owned by Fairoak Pty Ltd.

Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm the identity of the dead woman and said her name would not be released until all next of kin had been notified. She said police officers at the scene would conduct an inquiry for the coroner.

It is understood the woman's body was found in a swimming pool at the rear of the property.
A police spokeswoman said a person at the residence, believed to be Mr Bond, had called St John Ambulance.

Mr Bond married Ms Bliss in 1995 after divorcing his first wife Eileen Bond in 1992.

The couple returned to Perth in 2010 after living in London after the former high-flyer's release from jail in 2000.

Mr Bond's eldest daughter Susanne died in her Peppermint Grove home in 2000 after overdosing on morphine.

Alan Bond's Cottesloe house.

Di Bliss and Alan Bond on their wedding day in 1995.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Meet the Kedah MB and his fashion taste from Simpang Empat

Written by Harakahdaily  
Friday, 27 January 2012 13:04
Jan 27: Like him or loathe him, Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak is someone whose simple lifestyle has drawn praise from both friends and foes.

The popular 'ustaz', as he is known among PAS circles nationwide, courted controversy recently over his statement in support of the suspension of five students of a state-owned college.

Yet, Azizan's moderate lifestyle betrays the image of the top civil servant in each state as Malaysians have grown to get used to, with the exception being the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, whose decision to stay put in his wooden house despite being in power for more than two decades has been a strength many of his counterpart find hard to emulate.
POWER NAP... Nik Aziz, the Kelantan MB, takes a short siesta
When PAS president Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang took over as MB in neighbouring Terengganu, the same culture of maintaining an austere lifestyle was followed. As the MB, Hadi continued to teach at his madrasah beside his house in Rusila, and went fishing clad in his kampung attire.
So too can be said of the current Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, whose moderate lifestyle earned praise from PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, a Penangite.
'Fussy Azizan'

Visiting the Kedah MB recently, reporter Azamin Amin returns to tell of Azizan’s lifestyle which is a far cry from that of his predecessors from Barisan Nasional.
The state's most powerful man lives in an ordinary double storey house which does not invite second glance from passers by.

“Whoever walks pass, a pedestrian or motorist, will certainly miss it as it has nothing to attract one's attention,” he writes.

Azizan's house in Jalan Sultanah, Alor Setar, when it was inundated with flood water last year
Immediately after assuming office in March 2008, Azizan refused to use state grants to repair the damaged fencing of his house despite being advised to do so by the police for security reasons, saying he would only use his own money to do so.
Indeed, the veteran PAS leader is particular when it comes to financial matters.

“What he detests most is if someone comes asking for projects from him. He becomes very agitated if something is expensive and illogically priced. He goes into too much detail and is fussy when it comes to money,” says one staff member at the MB's office.

72-year old Azizan is father to 14 children, yet not one among them has been appointed to any state agency.

“This is despite some of them having no stable job,” revealed a source close to Azizan.
'Fashion taste' from Kangkong

Azizan's simple lifestyle can be compared to many PAS leaders: unassuming and ordinary, to say the least. his favourite clothing stores are not in Sydney. He goes 'shopping' for his clothes to a Chinese-owned shop in Simpang Empat, Kangkong and another in Penang.

"Some of the shirts he wears to official functions cost only RM19!” observes Azamin in his report.

Azizan also has a preference to travel outstation by land rather than by air. According to his personal assistant, the Kedah MB would insist on a non-stop road journey from Alor Setar to Kuala Lumpur, and flies only when when urgency is required, such as an invitation by the Sultan of Kedah with whom he has a strong relationship.
No to luxury hotels

When in Kuala Lumpur for official matters, Azizan spurns luxury hotels allocated for him, instead rents a three-room house to share with his aides.

Like many opposition leaders, Azizan is hounded by reporters and loaded questions.

Such as how the writer recalls when a reporter once posed Azizan the question, “Now Kedah has no water, how Datuk Seri?”

Azizan had then politely asked the reporter whether he had taken his morning shower, to which the reporter answered in the affirmative.

“How then can you claim there is no water? From which university you graduated? It is now the dry season, and the whole country is facing water shortage issues. We can pray to God for rain,” he retorted.

Another anecdote reveals Azizan's friendlier side.

Last Ramadan, many Kedahans were cheated by a leaflets claiming that the Kedah MB would be distributing Hari Raya cash gifts at his office.

Sure enough, 300 people turned up at his office.

What would someone who is fussy about financial matters have done in such an occasion? Quite the opposite.

"Feeling sorry for those being cheated by the leaflets, Azizan told his officers to distribute RM50 to each of them, and that money came directly from his pocket!”